The FBI rescued 33 missing children during a major human trafficking investigation in California this year.
Operation Lost Angels
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) initiated the “Operation Lost Angels” on January 11. It is aimed at rescuing missing victims of human trafficking in California. More than two dozen law enforcement and non-governmental partnered for the operation.
Their goal is “to identify, locate, and recover missing children, particularly those who have been or were suspected of being sexually exploited and/or trafficked.”
Since the operation started, they have rescued 33 missing children in less than three weeks. Of the underage human trafficking victims rescued, eight were being sexually exploited during the time of rescue.
“Two were recovered multiple times during the operation while on the ‘track,’ a common term used to describe a known location for commercial sex trafficking. It is not uncommon for victims who are rescued to return to commercial sex trafficking either voluntarily or by force, fraud, or coercion,” it said.
“Operation Lost Angels” is a part of the FBI’s movement to commemorate Human Trafficking Awareness Month.
“The FBI considers human trafficking modern-day slavery and the minors engaged in commercial sex trafficking are considered victims,” said Assistant FBI Director Kristi K. Johnson.
A suspected human trafficker was arrested on state charges. Further multiple investigations are being launched by the FBI.
In the 2020 report by the State Department on issues of trafficking, they warned that the COVID-19 pandemic has made more people vulnerable to traffickers.
“The effects of COVID-19, as with other catastrophic events, are disproportionately impacting communities suffering from systemic or generational inequality – the same communities traffickers often prey upon,” the report said.
In effect, the FBI along with other affiliated organizations are increasing their efforts to combat human trafficking. They are aiming to save more innocent lives from predators.